Customer Onboarding – are you giving it enough attention?

Many companies today have good technology systems to provide service to their clients but often the “onboarding” has been left behind. Because of KYC, AML and other regulations the process to “onboard” the customer can be more complex than an organization would have intended. A typical onboarding process can take anywhere from a few minutes to as long as several months.

If by policy or regulations we did not have to do it, let’s face it, we would just give a customer a unique id get there payment instructions and be done with it, right? It turns out that in many industries and especially in the financial sector the regulations just don’t allow it to be that simple and so we have the birth of “customer onboarding”.

When we are taking about B2C onboarding sometimes a simple webform can be enough and you can have that on your website. However, when you are trying to onboard for a complex or regulated service, a corporate customer or a VIP then things can get a bit more complicated. This process can be a very tailored onboarding process that can be many steps and hard to control and move forward. The complexity is also a point of stress for the customer and the relationship manager.

Most companies refer to “Onboarding” as a technical “going through the motions”, rather than an important part of the “value milestone” for the customer. I propose to look at this differently and in the following manner:

  1. Like going out on a date, this is the first impression of how your company works, make it count!
  2. This is the first success for your customer and it should be as smooth as possible.
  3. After the “onboarding” for the first time, your customer will be ready to get value from your company and then your ROI will follow.

We have been working on these challenges with many clients, having found that many complex onboarding processes are still done manually through relationship managers sending emails, calling customers using lists on excel spread sheets, PDF forms etc.

Our aim is to make this simple and “de-manualized” by building an onboarding portal bringing together all the right steps of the onboarding process into a customer journey.

Imagine this journey as the “yellow brick road” leading you step by step until the onboarding process is done. The customer knows exactly what to do next and the “Relationship manager” can follow and help along the way if needed. The important thing is to get both sides on the same page of what needs to be done and facilitate communication if necessary. This makes the “onboarding” much faster, clearer and well organized. The value of a well broken down, clear path is in the form of “time to complete”, and “customer satisfaction”.

The high-level method of what we are doing is breaking the process down in to “bite size steps”:

  1. information and explanations that explain each of the required steps and why they need to be done while keeping it concise and clear.
  2. Clear call to actions so that the tasks can be finished (forms, sign, upload docs, send a template etc.)
  3. a rich communication platform that enables to answer questions, guide and help the customer if they get lost in the process and this can include a “bot” if necessary. Though I would argue that a well-made process is so clear and easy to follow that you need no assistance and no “bot”.

If you have a process that has to be done before your customer can get the service they really want. This should receive plenty of attention and made as smooth as possible so that it does not stand in the way of doing your real business. You should be using technology and methodology that can facilitate this and bridge the gap to great customer onboarding.

To recap and summarize:

The challenges are:

  •    complexity of onboarding because of regulations and legalities
  •    waisted time and money on both customer and company side

The methodology is:

Make it structured and bite size with the right tools to enable completing each step

The benefits are:

  •    faster onboarding process
  •    Better customer relationship, satisfaction and success
  •    Faster value to the customer and faster ROI for the company

The writer of this article is Sivan Bender CEO of SlidePiper. SlidePiper interactive portals specialize in building interactive onboarding portals.


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